Despite all of its change, the East Village has still maintained being a hub for some of the best restaurants in NYC. The best East Village restaurants include pierogi in Ukranian Village and the growing number of Chinese restaurants focusing on Szechuan food. In addition, East Village restaurants offer a diverse melting pot of top-rate Korean restaurants, modern Mexican restaurants, and, not to mention the bulk of the Momofuku empire. There's always a new opening to discover.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the East Village in NYC
Best East Village restaurants
The food here is so good, we dream of someday having Superiority Burger cater our funeral. But in less morbid terms, the tiny spot offers a constantly-revolving menu of memorable vegetable-forward sandwiches, sides and desserts that make for one of the city’s strongest dining experiences (order the offmenu: yuba verde). Those who hate waiting in lines...this is one of the few spots where it’s actually worth the hype.
Your bowl of perfectly al-dente noodles sits in a bowl of broth that took hours to cook, but you’d slurp all the noodles between bites of the tender beef within minutes if you could. Our advice is to savor every bit while you also snack on the other small dishes of delicate tofu and hearty bowl of minced pork over rice.
One reason New York cab drivers have been coming here for 25 years is the food: chana masala (spiced chickpeas), yellow dal, chat and everything else is vibrantly spiced and vegetarian-friendly.
Chef Kyungmin Kay Hyun’s sleeper hit boasts approachable dishes with a host of influences—Korean, French and Spanish, to name a few. Expect saucy gnocchi with a Korean chili-pepper sauce, rich duck-confit empanadas, and plantains with chimichurri and ricotta, which is fluffier than the usual cotija. While feasting, dig the visual delights, like the soju cocktails served in LED Capri Sun–style bags and the menu sleeves made from vintage children’s books.
For far too long Spam has been given a bad rep. But at Noreetuh, Spam is among the menu’s specialties with dishes like spicy Spam musubi, which ask you to reconsider the canned meat.
A kosher diner in the East Village serving up tuna melts, pierogi, kasha varnishkes and borscht. Once run by Jewish immigrants, today, the restaurant is helmed by Polish-Catholics and an Egytian-Muslim owner, churning out an amalgamation of American diner delights.
The dim-sum juggernaut from chef-owners Mak Kwai Pui and Leung Fai Keung—which has five locations in its native Hong Kong and another 39 sites worldwide—became the world’s least-expensive Michelin-starred restaurant when it surprisingly scored a sparkler in 2009 for its freshly made pork buns and translucent shrimp dumplings.
At this point, it’s unclear just how many “moments” Vietnamese food has had in New York’s gastro timeline. Hanoi House from Stephen Starr alums Ben Lowell and Sara Leveen is a perennial favorite with its nod to traditional Vietnamese dishes with some cheffy touches, from a 16-hour broth for the classic beef pho to the filet mignon in the shaking beef.
Cozy, southern staples come alive at this casual East Village restaurant—one of the first to bring more attention to the offerings on Avenue C—with a surprising amount of gusto in classics such as the fried catfish sandwich, collard greens and, of course, the mac ‘n cheese.
If the refreshing flavors of Somtum Der in the East Village are any indication, Isan cuisine is the antidote to the too-sweet noodles Americans commonly mistake for Thai food. Take a seat in the bright, wood-paneled dining room and enjoy the heat of the chilies that permeate the spicy fare.
Chinese hot pot, customarily stewed with thinly sliced meats, vegetables and stock, gets a brothless showcase with this East Village eatery from owner Ning Amelie Kang. Named after the Chinese phenomenon of ma la (literally “numbing and spicy”), the restaurant’s starring dish is a variation on Chongqing-hailing dry pot, a stir-fry-like spread built with a choice of 52 add-ins.
Instantly craveable takes on Korean food is exactly what to expect at this East Village nook. The ultimate Netflix-binge, couch-potato snack of honey-buttered chips comes with the highly-recommended option to add vanilla ice cream. Unlike the typical Korean BBQ joints in the city, Oiji serves up versions of traditional fare in a more experimental manner.
Instead of jumping on the bigger-is-better bandwagon, Andrew Carmellini, doesn’t just go small—he goes primi. Carb-load with a triumvirate of house-made pastas such as the rigatoni carbonara, the orcheciette with broccoli rabe or the squid ink and carb campanelle. It's all in the details.
New York knows its noodles, from the thinnest ramen to the thickest udon and every soba, somen and cellophane strand in between. But mixian—the Yunnan-born rice noodle that goes down like the love child of Chinese vermicelli and Italian spaghetti—has proven more elusive than its starchy brethren. Wd~50 alum Simone Tong zooms in on the Yunnanese specialty in the city’s densest thicket of noodle houses at Little Tong, her blond-wood canteen.
This zen-like space in the East Village has quickly become the premiere destination for udon in the city. While the thick, chewy noodles are the star of the show, the broths are just as good (you’ll want to finish every drop). If you’re feeling adventurous, try the Niku, which is made with short rib and honeycomb tripe, and add on toppings like grated mountain yam or pickled plum.
The kamayan feast is well known here, where a banana-leaf-covered table is filled with everything from whole fried snapper to sweet-savory pork sausages to be shared and eaten with your hands. This may not fit a weeknight dinner, but Jeepney offers plenty of other dishes to show off Filipino food’s diverse offerings.
While New York is awash in Chinese restaurants focused on Szechuan cuisine, some do it better than others. Consider Szechuan Mountain House a winner with its peppercorn-fortified dishes that leave your mouth feeling numb, whether you order the mapo tofu or the hot oil sliced beef for some heat.
Noodle Bar made its bones taking the economic savior of college students everywhere—ramen noodles—and making them hot, offering an array of slurpable noodle soups that join tender meat or mushroom-stuffed buns and soft serve. It's a great option for a late-night snack, if you're looking for a nosh.
The East Village boasts a growing number of Vietnamese restaurants, but Van Da sets itself apart with its breezy, all-day cafe aesthetic (think smartly placed plants and minimalist decor). Restaurateur Yen Ngo and chef Hannah Wong’s menu is also a standout that eschews the typical offerings of pho and banh mi for less common dishes like banh bot lot (shrimp and pork tapioca dumplings).
The Pig Out alone is a dish that brings us back to Tuome time after time. A serving size for two diners, chef Thomas Chen’s confit Berkshire pork shoulder has shatteringly-crisp skin bite-size pieces of protein complemented by bowls of spicy, chewy peanut noodles. The former Eleven Madison Park alum imparts his precise technique to a wide-range of American dishes with Asian influences.
Eric Sze and Andy Chuang infuse the menu’s Tawainese comfort dishes with a bit of izakaya flair (sake pairs excellently with an oyster omelette or scallion pancakes) and a few modern touches (honey-glazed popcorn chicken). It’s a perfect hangout whether you’re looking for a fun meal with friends or you’re looking to offset some late-night drinking.
This intimate Italian red sauce restaurant is the the type of place locals in the know visit but it’s also where you’d take out-of-towners who want to experience “a real New York restaurant” (aka, where you won’t find tourists). The menu is no frills, with thin-crust, wood oven-baked personal pies that are equally as appetizing as the bowls of pasta.
This lively Indian restaurant doesn’t pull in a crowd because of an Instagrammable room festooned with Christmas lights or a menu that’s been dubbed among the best “cheap eats” in the city. Instead, chef Sujan Sarkar’s contemporary spin on regional Indian dishes paired with an inventive cocktail menu brings in customers seeking a more gastro pub vibe (don’t forget to order the New Delhi fried chicken, one of our best dishes in 2019).
Skirting the small-plate trend, the hearty fare at this haunt is big, rich and flavorful. There is a small hearth in the restaurant, but the real warmth comes from the staff, which takes pains in helping you pick the right dish, and is equally interested in finding out afterward what you thought of it.
Reclaimed wood, repurposed scaffolding and recycled whiskey bottles become chandeliers and lamps in the 45-seat dining room, and animal-bone beer taps take center stage at the bar. At your table, enjoy a bounty of southern classics, each one slightly cheffed-up for the New York scene.
A throwback to the artsy East Village of decades past, this 24-hour Ukrainian diner is famous for such authentic savory grub as borscht, kielbasa and pierogi. There is no bad time to come in for a bite, just be aware there will be crowds of college students and downtown dwellers looking to do the same.
Panna II does not have the best food in the East Village. But it is by far one of the neighborhood’s consistently most fun places to dine. Apart of a quadrant of restaurants all covered with light-up chilli peppers and other luminary design details, it’s a great spot for Indian food with a big group. Note: it’s also BYOB.
The best Greenwich Village restaurants in NYC are a diverse bunch. There are high-end Japanese food counters, acclaimed falafel joints and fast-casual Neopolitan pizza havens. Whether you’re craving a platter of oysters on the half-shell or spicy rigatoni at one of the best Italian restaurants in NYC, check out the best restaurants in Greenwich Village. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to best restaurants in NYC